NAP is the term given to name, address, and phone number in local search. Your NAP information should always be correct and complete across all the locations it appears in online. If this is not the case, you will lose out on valuable traffic and visibility.
How does Google determine where you rank in local search?
As you might expect, various factors (not all of which are known) are rolled into this calculation. However, one source has discovered around 20% of the calculation concerns on-page elements. NAP forms part of this information.
This means that if Google discovers the NAP details are different in one place than in another, and there is no consistency in the details you have given, it will rank your site below your competition. This means there is less chance of you being discovered when someone searches for a local business like yours.
What should you do if your details change?
There are lots of valid reasons why this might happen. You might move into larger premises or those in a better position. You might change phone numbers. Maybe you decide to invest in a Freephone number, so your customers can contact you without charge.
Whenever anything like this happens, the golden rule is this – amend rather than creating new information. Go through your details and update them within your existing listings. Don’t be tempted to start from scratch. If you do, you’ll end up with old and new listings and Google won’t know whether it can trust any of them. It will then be more likely to drop your ranking, providing searchers with other more reliable information instead.
Keep your listings clean and correct and check your NAP information periodically to ensure it isn’t out of date. This will help your local SEO performance.